A research group led by Dr. Mariana Diel de Amorim compared methods that are used to predict the time that a mare is due to begin foaling. They utilized 23 Standardbred mares, ranging in age from 5-18 years of age, from which mammary secretions were collected daily, starting from between 320 and 330 days of gestation. Methods that were assessed were the calcium titration method, digital pH meter, pH test strips, water hardness test strips, and a Brix refractometer, and these were compared to a birth monitoring system (FoalAlert®).
Their conclusions were that the calcium titration method was significantly related to foaling, with the highest proportion of mares showing readiness to foal on the day before and the day of actual foaling. The pH method was also found to be helpful in determining readiness to foal. The birth monitoring system resulted in 82%of mares foaling with the alarm, 18% without, and 19% false alarms. In her interview with theHorse magazine.
Dr. Diel de Amorim suggests that using the calcium titration and pH evaluation at the same time can better help to pinpoint the day of foaling. She went on to say, “No technology is 100% guaranteed, so we tend to use a combination of them to make sure that we attend the foalings.”
Research Abstract: Diel de Amorim, M. et al. Comparison of Foaling Prediction Methods in Periparturient Standardbred Mares. AAEP Proc. 2017, vol. 63, p. 462.
Companion Article: Larson, E. When Will My Mare Foal? theHorse, Jan 21, 2017, Article